Jafari, Claudia and Thijsen, Steven and Sotgiu, Giovanni and Goletti, Delia and Domínguez Benítez, José Antonio and Losi, Monica and Eberhardt, Ralf and Kirsten, Detlef and Kalsdorf, Barbara and Bossink, Aik and Latorre, Irene and Migliori, Giovanni Battista and Strassburg, Alan and Winteroll, Susanne and Greinert, Ulf and Richeldi, Luca and Ernst, Martin and Lange, Christoph (2009) Bronchoalveolar lavage enzyme-linked immunospot for a rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis: a tuberculosis network European trialsgroup study. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol. 180 (7), p. 666-673. eISSN 1535-4970. Article.
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Rationale: The rapid diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is difficult when acid fast bacilli (AFB) cannot be detected in sputum smears.
Objectives: Following a proof of principle study, we examined in routine clinical practice whether individuals with sputum AFB smear-negative TB can be discriminated from those with latent TB infection by local immunodiagnosis with a Mycobacterium tuberculosis–specific enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISpot) assay.
Methods: Subjects suspected of having active TB who were unable to produce sputum or with AFB-negative sputum smears were prospectively enrolled at Tuberculosis Network European Trialsgroup centers in Europe. ELISpot with early-secretory-antigenic-target–6 and culture-filtrate-protein–10 peptides was performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and bronchoalveolar lavage mononuclear cells (BALMCs). M. tuberculosis–specific nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) was performed on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.
Measurements and Main Results: Seventy-one of 347 (20.4%) patients had active TB. Out of 276 patients who had an alternative diagnosis, 127 (46.0%) were considered to be latently infected with M. tuberculosis by a positive PBMC ELISpot result. The sensitivity and specificity of BALMC ELISpot for the diagnosis of active pulmonary TB were 91 and 80%, respectively. The BALMC ELISpot (diagnostic odds ratio [OR], 40.4) was superior to PBMC ELISpot (OR, 10.0), tuberculin skin test (OR, 7.8), and M. tuberculosis specific NAAT (OR, 12.4) to diagnose sputum AFB smear-negative TB. In contrast to PBMC ELISpot and tuberculin skin test, the BALMC ELISpot was not influenced by previous history of TB.
Conclusions: Bronchoalveolar lavage ELISpot is an important advancement to rapidly distinguish sputum AFB smear-negative TB from latent TB infection in routine clinical practice.
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